At Maison Bleue we are passionate about summer flavours’ creating dishes that showcase the seasons bounty. It’s a wonderful time of year and I love it when the sun dapples through the windows here at Maison Bleue, everything seems so easy and relaxed.
Simple summer dishes, prepared quickly, almost effortlessly, are ideal for summer entertaining. I was born in a little seaside town in North West Brittany, with a strong coastal tide it’s famous for sardines. My childhood memories are filled with family barbecues on the beach. Still now the taste of grilled sardines takes me back to those carefree days.
On the grill sardines are so simple and delicious. Light and packed with the goodness of the season it’s a seaside holiday on a plate. Simply brush olive oil onto fresh gutted sardines and BBQ 2-3 mins each side. Squeeze over some lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley before sharing. Mop up the juices with good crusty French bread.
“A perfect summers dish from the shore”
Those summer memories inspired me to create a seasonal sardine dish to serve here at Maison Bleue. Easy to prepare the subtle balance of flavour, saltiness and texture and a pop of red beetroot make a colourful plate. We source our sardines responsibly from the Cornish coastline; its craggy shores and turbulent tides remind me of home and produce sardines with a distinct firm flesh, and a taste of the sea – delicious!
A pale Côtes de Provence rosé would be ideal with this recipe or a crisp Muscadet from the Loire Valley.
A stunning light seafood dish with a pop of red Suffolk beetroot. Choose high-quality fresh sardines from your local fishmonger – the fresher the better.
• 1 cooked beetroot
• 50ml balsamic vinegar
• 24 sardines with tails, scaled and butterflied
• 15g shallots, finely chopped
• 100g mascarpone
• 10g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 2 feuilles de brick (thin sheets of French pastry, available in large supermarkets and online)
• A knob of salted butter, melted, for brushing
• 6 small heirloom tomatoes
• Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
• Candied baby beetroots, sliced, to garnish
• Salt and black pepper
Place the cooked beetroot in a food processor or blender, add the balsamic vinegar and blitz. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside until needed.
Roll 16 butterflied sardines and secure with a toothpick. Refrigerate until needed.
Sweat the shallots in a pan for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until softened. Cut the rest of the sardines into small cubes and place into the pan with the shallots. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Transfer the sardine and shallot mixture to a medium bowl and add the mascarpone and chopped parsley. Using a wooden spoon, work it until smooth. Season to taste. Using a spatula, scoop the mixture into a pipping bag. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 150°C (fan 130°C).
Cut both feuilles de brick into eight 5cm x 10cm strips (you should have 16 strips altogether) and brush them with melted salted butter. Roll the strips around stainless-steel pastry tubes and place into the preheated oven for about 4 minutes, until they have coloured. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on the pastry tubes. Once cooled, remove the stainless-steel tubes and fill the pastry with the chilled sardine and mascarpone mixture.
Increase the oven temperature to 250°C (fan 230°C).
Place the 16 rolled butterflied sardines in the preheated oven for 2 minutes until cooked.
Blanch, peel, quarter and deseed the heirloom tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Divide the sardine fillets and rolls between 4 serving plates and add the heirloom tomatoes. Drop some spots of beetroot dressing onto different areas of the plate and garnish with sliced and seasoned baby candied beetroot.
Celebrate the seasons at Maison Bleue multi award-winning Modern French Cuisine, Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds: 01284 760623